BELLINGHAM – For more than 25 years, John Murray’s Pool Pro and Spa on Pulaski Boulevard has been the Blackstone Valley’s one stop for in ground and above ground pools.
Now, Murray, Bellingham’s King of Cool, has found a whole new way to keep people cool and comfy during the hot summer months – ice cream.
Now in its first full season since opening in July of 2012, Chevy’s Ice Cream at 191 Pulaski Boulevard, located next door to Pool Pro and Spa, is much more than your ordinary ice cream stand – it’s a major attraction with a retro 1950s fast food drive in feel, unique ice cream products and a flair for fun.
The ice cream stand is located in the circa 1945 family home where Murray grew up and which also houses the central business office for both Chevy’s and Pool Pro and Spa. He transformed an adjacent vacant lot into a spacious parking lot, brought in all new state-of-the art stainless steel kitchen equipment, including an $8,000 soft serve machine, and installed three big customer windows where patrons can order their choice of any number of tasty frozen treats from frozen yogurt to sorbet.
And it’s not just any ice cream, Murray says.
“We use Bliss brand ice cream and when it comes to locally made ice cream you can’t get anything better,” he says.
Unlike other manufactures of ice cream, Attleboro-based Bliss Bros. Dairy uses farm fresh cream and milk, pure cane sugar, and the highest quality flavorings such as pure two-fold Madagascar vanilla and strawberry puree.
“They use all natural ingredients and it’s really a superior product,” Murray says.
At Chevy’s, ice cream lovers will find more than 60 flavors and 38 toppings.
One of Chevy Ice Cream’s more unique treats is its ice cream pizza - a 12-inch pizza-sized fudge brownie covered with premium vanilla ice cream and topped with fudge drizzle, M&M's, chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.
The ice cream pizza provides eight generous slices and comes in an authentic red and white pizza box with see-through window.
Chevy’s also has a soft serve ice cream flavor dispenser that can add a variety of flavors to soft-serve by injecting concentrated flavorings throughout the finished product. The result is a fun, colorful product filled with great-tasting premium flavors, including chocolate swirl, strawberry, butter pecan, bubblegum, Blue Goo, watermelon and more.
And at Chevy’s Ice Cream, you can also get a cold treat for Fido.
“We also sell dog ice cream, which contains no dairy,” says Murray. “We have two flavors, peanut butter and vanilla, and they both come with dog bone toppings.”
The 1950s-inspired interior features neon accents and photos of classic Chevrolets, while the outside has high quality red metal picnic tables, canopied swing tables and patio lights.
“We really went top-notch on everything,” says Murray. “I think what sets us apart from other places is that we are spotless in terms of cleanliness, we have extremely friendly customer service and we have unique products.”
Before he opened, Murray says he visited several ice cream stands “to observe how they operate.”
“What a lot of places do is have one person who takes orders, make the orders and then handles the money,” he said. “When people get their ice cream they don’t want to be fumbling around with their money to pay for it. Here at Chevy’s we have order takers and order makers. You place your order and pay for it at one window and you pick up your order at the other windows.”
Most ice cream stands start thinking of closing after Labor Day, but Chevy’s will be open seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m. through the month of October and is already in the process of getting ready for Halloween with giant Halloween animatronics, props and decorations.
The ice cream menu also includes new seasonal flavors, including pumpkin pie, caramel apple and witch’s brew.
When it comes to business, Murray knows what sells. He owned and operated Murray’s Auto Sales in Bellingham for more than 20 years before opening Pool Pro and Spa in 1988.
Murray started toying with the idea of opening an ice cream shop about two years ago after his daughter, Shayna, insisted it would be a good business venture. Looking to do something to help supplement the pool business, he took his daughter’s advice and opened Chevy’s in July of 2012.
“Business has been very good and I’m very happy,” he says. “I think we have a place that is unique and special and I think people appreciate that.”